Learning How to Eat to Live

“We’re doing what?” the kids all queried back as we broke the news to them at dinner last night…

I never thought I’d see the day when we would consider the vegan lifestyle a possibility for our family.  We’ve always focused on eating healthy, fresh, whole foods that don’t come from boxes or cans, are minimally processed,  limited in sugar content, and make use of homegrown, organic fruits and vegetables, but we’ve never – ever – considered eliminating meat and dairy products from our diets before.  Like most everyone else, we thought that animal products were necessary in our diets to provide all of the needed protein, just as we thought dairy was necessary for meeting all of our calcium needs.   After spending some time, this weekend, watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, a documentary that investigates the serious claim that “most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods”, though, Matt and I now have a completely different view of meat and dairy products.  So, we’ve made the radical decision to try and eliminate most – if not  all – animal products and processed foods from our diets because of the overwhelming scientific evidence  that points to a convincing link between them and all kinds of deadly diseases that plague our nation.

Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Tribune Times, calls Forks Over Knives “A Film that can save your life!”

Well, we believe that only Jesus can save lives, but we also believe that God has given us the ability to make wise decisions regarding our lifestyles.   Switching to a 100% whole food, plant-based diet, we believe, is a sensible and prudent thing to do.  True, it’s going to require giving up some of our favorite foods, breaking old habits and implementing new ones, acquiring a new and different set of tastes, and developing an entirely new way of thinking about food, but if we can, just by changing our diets,  prevent some of the deadliest degenerative diseases, like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, have more energy, and be able to live a vibrant, productive life — one that is more able to serve the Lord and others during the time we have, here on earth — then making the move to a vegan lifestyle is the most rational thing for our family to do.

Our plan is to make a gradual change.  We won’t eliminate all meat and dairy products from our diets all at once.    Cutting back on our meat intake will probably be the easiest transition — we’ve already been trying to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into our diets, anyway.  Getting rid of dairy and eggs is going to be much tougher, though —  no more cold cereal topped with milk for morning breakfasts, cheese in our sandwiches, tacos, and burritos, and fried eggs for evening snacks; baking will be more of a challenge for me if I can’t use eggs;  and, as Ryan said, food preparation is probably going to take a little longer.  Taking it one step at a time, though, will help us be more successful, I hope.

I’m not sure if we’ll make a 100% conversion, but we’re anxious to see just how far we can get in eliminating most, if not all, of the animal-based and processed foods from our diets.  The challenge, for me, is going to be in finding recipes that everyone enjoys, and a lot more time (at first) will have to be devoted to meal planning.  The challenge for everyone else will be in giving the vegan lifestyle a good, honest try. (After all of the rolling eyes and sighs we got from the kids last night, I’m sure I’m going to be doing a lot of praying!)

As we make this journey towards a more vegan lifestyle,  I’m sure there will be a lot of obstacles, and even set backs along the way.  I hope there will also be measurable, positive changes in our health, though.   Who knows?  In another month or two, it’s possible we could all really enjoy being complete vegans — or, at least, pretty solid vegetarians.  Regardless of what happens,  my goal is that our family learns to, as one woman from the movie put it, “eat to live” instead of  “live to eat”.

If you haven’t yet, I highly encourage you to watch Forks Over Knives, and share your thoughts about it with me!


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